“We dare say, sir, you are very sincere: We only think you a little in error,” returned the Admiral’s widow, with a commiserating, and what she intended for a condescending, smile. “We are your debtors for your good intentions, at least. Come, worthy veteran, we must not part here. You will gain admission by knocking at my door; and we shall talk further of these matters.”
Then, bowing to Wilder, she led the way up the garden, followed by all her companions. The step of Mrs de Lacey was proud, like the tread of one conscious of all her advantages; while that of Wyllys was slow, as if she were buried in thought. Gertrude kept close to the side of the latter, with her face hid beneath the shade of a gipsy hat. Wilder fancied that he could discover the stolen and anxious glance that she threw back towards one who had excited a decided emotion in her sensitive bosom though it was a feeling no more attractive than alarm. He lingered until they were lost amid the shrubbery. Then, turning to pour out his disappointment on his brother tar, he found that the old man had made such good use of his time, as to be entering the gate, most probably felicitating himself on the prospect of reaping the reward of his recent adulation.
“He ran this way, and leap’d this orchard wall.”—Shakspeare.
Wilder retired from the field like a defeated man. Accident, or, as he was willing to term it, the sycophancy of the old mariner, had counteracted his own little artifice; and he was now left without the remotest chance of being again favoured with such another opportunity of effecting his purpose. We shall not, at this period of the narrative, enter into a detail of the feelings and policy which induced our adventurer to plot against the apparent interests of those with whom he had so recently associated himself; it is enough, for our present object, that the facts themselves should be distinctly set before the reader.
The return of the disappointed young sailor, towards the town, was moody and slow. More than once he stopped short in the descent, and fastened his eyes, for minutes together, on the different vessels in the harbour. But, in these frequent-halts, no evidence of the particular interest he took in any one of the ships escaped him. Perhaps his gaze at the Southern trader was longer, and more earnest, than at any other; though his eye, at times, wandered curiously, and even anxiously, over every craft that lay within the shelter of the haven.
The customary hour for exertion had now arrived, and the sounds of labour were beginning to be heard, issuing from every quarter of the place. The songs of the mariners were rising on the calm of the morning with their peculiar, long-drawn intonations. The ship in the inner harbour was among the first to furnish this proof of the industry of her people, and of her approaching departure. It was only